10 Unmissable Predictions for AI in the Public Sector in 2024

Dennis Hillemann
5 min readDec 23, 2023

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As we approach the year 2024, the realm of artificial intelligence (AI) is teeming with potential for transformation. The public sector in Europe, known for its cautious yet (sometimes) innovative approach, is preparing to become a key player in this evolving narrative. In this discussion, we will examine ten predictions that are set to revolutionize the impact of AI within the European public sphere. Drawing on historical knowledge, cultural understanding, and insights from prominent leaders, we will consider the ramifications of these forecasts and reflect on the potential they hold for shaping our collective future.

1. The AI Act will boost public procurement — and thus AI development in Europe

The European Union institutions have agreed on a final version of the AI Act, and it will go into effect following a transitional period. While there has been criticism of the regulation for hindering innovation, it will offer a crucial benefit for the public sector in Europe: legal certainty. Currently, it is challenging for the public sector to utilize AI solutions due to numerous unanswered legal questions and their risk-averse nature. It would be detrimental to develop an AI solution using time and resources only to find out later that it violates the law.

Although challenges may arise regarding interpretation and implementation of the AI Act, the regulation will ultimately provide legal certainty for the public sector — as long as they comply with its rules. This will have a positive impact on the AI industry in Europe as the public sector can now initiate large-scale contracts for AI development and implementation. Thanks to the AI Act, this can be done through public procurement processes, although it may not occur until late 2024 rather than early in the year. Nevertheless, this means that funding from the public budget will flow towards European AI companies, thanks to the regulations set forth by the AI Act.

2. The Emergence of Chief AI Officers in Government

The trend of appointing Chief AI Officers (CAIOs), as seen in Fortune 500 companies, is expected to permeate the public sector. This strategic move, reminiscent of the appointment of Chief Cloud Officers during the cloud computing surge, signifies a commitment to harnessing AI’s potential. As President Biden’s executive order catalyzes the hiring of over 400 CAIOs across the U.S. government, Europe may follow suit, embedding AI leadership within its bureaucratic structures.

3. The Decline of “Large Language Model” Terminology

The term “large language model” (LLM) is likely to wane as AI evolves beyond text-centric capabilities. With the advent of multimodal AI, incorporating diverse data types such as images, audio, and video, the lexicon describing AI will expand to reflect its multidimensional nature. Europe’s public sector must adapt its language and understanding to keep pace with these advancements.

4. Closed Models Outperforming Open Models

The debate between open-source and closed-source AI models continues, with closed models currently leading in performance. Despite the allure of open-source models, the substantial investment required to pioneer state-of-the-art AI suggests that proprietary models will remain at the forefront. European public entities must navigate this landscape, balancing the benefits of open innovation with the need for cutting-edge capabilities.

5. Divergence in Transatlantic AI Regulation

When comparing transatlantic approaches to AI regulation, it becomes evident that the EU and U.S. hold different philosophies. Europe prioritizes trust and excellence in AI, taking a proactive regulatory stance. In contrast, the U.S. has a more laissez-faire approach. This disparity is not just a matter of policy, but also reflects underlying cultural and philosophical distinctions. As Alexis de Tocqueville contemplated the unique qualities of American democracy, we must also consider the distinct paths each society takes in their AI development.

6. Generative AI in Elections and Political Processes

As generative AI becomes more prevalent in elections and political processes, it is crucial for us to closely monitor its use. While there is potential for AI to improve democratic participation, we must also consider the risks of manipulation and spreading misinformation. Like Pericles, Europe’s public sector must carefully navigate these challenges and ensure that technological advancements strengthen rather than undermine our society as a whole.

7. AI in Healthcare, Transportation, and Entertainment

In the upcoming decade, we can expect to witness major strides in AI technology within healthcare, transportation, and entertainment industries. The European government will play a vital role in facilitating these advancements while also prioritizing equal access and ethical concerns. Just as Hippocrates established the basis for medical ethics, it is now up to policymakers to ensure that AI is used for the betterment of society’s health and overall welfare.

8. Europe’s Focus on Trustworthy AI

Europe’s focus on achieving greatness and reliance on AI aims to strengthen their research and industrial capabilities while ensuring the protection of safety and basic rights. The EU’s strategy, encompassing both bold aspirations and careful considerations, will determine the implementation of AI in the government sector.

9. AI-Driven Efficiency in Enterprise

In the enterprise sector, AI’s potential to drive efficiency and innovation is immense. For the public sector, this translates into enhanced decision-making processes and optimized operational workflows. The challenge lies in ensuring that these benefits are not confined to the private realm but are extended to the public sphere, in line with the utilitarian principle of the greatest good for the greatest number.

10. The Intersection of AI and Culture

The rich cultural heritage of Europe provides a unique perspective on the incorporation of AI into the public sector. Whether it be through preserving ancient artifacts or advancing creative industries, AI has the ability to not only drive innovation but also serve as a guardian of culture. The government’s role in this area should acknowledge the past while embracing progress, following Goethe’s belief that “he who does not have three thousand years of history is living day by day.”

Looking into the future of AI within Europe’s public sector in 2024, one thing is clear: the interplay between innovation and regulation will play a crucial role. The predictions laid out here present various possibilities, each with the potential to shape the landscape of public service. As Alan Turing, an influential figure in computational science, once said, “We can only see a short distance ahead, but we can see plenty that needs to be done.” It is with this understanding and determination that Europe must approach the AI horizon and be prepared to face both challenges and opportunities head on.

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Dennis Hillemann

Lawyer and partner with a track record of successful litigation and a passion for innovation in the legal field